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Buying the Best Timber for your Projects

Don't waste your money on timber that has obvious defects - rather look for pieces with few or no defects.


I have previously touched on the topic of buying the best pine for your projects, but still receive enquiries from DIY enthusiasts that buy timber with defects, and who want to know how they can bend the boards straight, or fix the fault. In 99% of the cases where you have defect wood, the problem cannot be solved, and this is why you need to ensure that you buy the best timbers when you are using them for making furniture or decor projects.





After drawing up a basic plan you should know the quantity, size and how much wood you need. But before you just grab a few piece of laminated pine, PAR pine, or other timber,  take enough time to inspect the boards or shelving to check them for common defects.

So often, the wood is stacked up tightly or wrapped with straps and you can't see how straight the pieces are. If this is the case, ask one of the store attendants to remove the strapping in order for you to be able to take the boards or planks out and inspect them. Ideally, you want every plank or shelving to be perfectly flat and straight.







Take a look at the image at the top of this page, and that clearly shows the different types of defects you will come across when buying pine or other wood.



When you come across planks or shelving where the faces are flat and the edges straight, these are great for projects such as interior trim and cabinets, as well as DIY and woodworking projects - and you will find a selection of basic sizes in the timber section at Builders Warehouse or timber merchants.



If the timbers has been left standing for a while you may find planks where the faces are not flat from side to side, You may be able to rip narrower pieces from these, but try to avoid taking these if you can.


Bowed planks have faces that are not flat from end to end. When I  have to take these, cutting them down helps to flatten them out. But only use these planks if you know you need to cut them down to size.



Avoid planks of shelving with flat faces, but with edges that are not straight from end to end. These are not good to work with, although you may be able to crosscut into shorter pieces that have fairly straight edges.



Twisted planks or shelving where the faces are not flat, should be avoided.


Keep in mind that pine is a popular softwood - it's economical. But if you are wanting to create heirloom furniture or prefer a more high-end finish, you may want to build using indigenous or exotic hardwoods. While not all hardwoods are 'hard,' they are generally denser and more durable than softwoods. Information provided by







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